One of the few constant things at the Disney theme parks is change. Walt Disney said that his original Disneyland Park “would never be complete” and that “it will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” That imagination has led to many changes in Disney’s theme parks, including updating famous attractions and adding entirely new rides and lands.
A major project is underway in Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort, as the well-known flume ride Splash Mountain closes to make room for a new attraction. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, inspired by the animated film The Princess and the Frog, will bring the sights and sounds of New Orleans to both resorts next year. While much of the original structure of Splash Mountain will remain intact for this new ride, guests can expect an entirely unique experience when Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens.
Splash Mountain Is Closing
Before Tiana’s Bayou Adventure can debut at the Disney theme parks, guests must bid farewell to Splash Mountain. Inspired by the 1946 film Song of the South, the water flume attraction first opened in 1989 in Disneyland Park and in 1992 at Magic Kingdom. The original Disneyland version of the ride used repurposed audio-animatronics from America Sings, a long-running attraction in the 1970s and 1980s. Over 30 years after its initial opening, Splash Mountain is in the process of permanently retiring on both coasts. It has already closed at Walt Disney World on January 23 and is preparing to close at Disneyland Resort on May 31. The Splash Mountain at Tokyo Disney Resort which opened in 1992 will remain in operation as is.
Once Splash Mountain closes in Anaheim, construction will be underway in both Disney resorts to transform the attraction into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Though Disney has not announced an official opening date yet, it has shared that the transformation will be complete in late 2024.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Brings a New Story to Disney Parks
When guests board Tiana’s Bayou Adventure starting in late 2024, they will experience what Disney describes as “a celebration during Mardi Gras season hosted by Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen.” The attraction stars familiar faces from the Disney animated film The Princess and the Frog, along with new characters throughout the ride. Throughout the journey, guests will encounter dozens of new audio-animatronic figures, including ones of Princess Tiana and Mama Odie. No specific opening date has been announced yet, but a late 2024 date could put the attraction opening squarely in between the consistently busy Disney Halloween and Holiday celebrations.
The ride will feature tunes from The Princess and the Frog and new melodies inspired by the “musical gumbo” found throughout New Orleans, Louisiana. Eric Beigel, a co-founder of The Insiders, shared his enthusiasm for the upcoming attraction: “I am very excited for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure! Disney has never disappointed when reimagining attractions, and I’m sure that will only continue. The concept art, as well as announcements of new music and gathering the original cast of The Princess and the Frog, is more than enough to excite me for this addition to the parks.”
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure joins a lineup of rides and attractions reimagined into new Disney rides over the years to better reflect popular Disney stories that resonate with today’s audiences. Recent examples of these reimaginings include modernizing the EPCOT ride Maelstrom into Frozen Ever After and turning The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror into Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT at Disney California Adventure.
As Meagan duBois, a travel reporter specializing in Disney theme parks, shares: “Walt Disney said the parks would always be evolving and changing, and this is a great change. While fun, Splash Mountain didn’t represent the values of Disney, and a change is needed. I’m also excited to see how the rest of Magic Kingdom evolves to tell the story of Tiana around the current Frontierland area.”
New Shopping and Dining Coming to Disneyland Resort
At Disneyland, work is underway to transform a portion of New Orleans Square to accompany Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. First, the quick-service restaurant French Market closed in February to make way for Tiana’s Palace. This new dining location will highlight New Orleans’ unique flavors throughout its menu. Closeby is a new store called Eudora’s Chic Boutique Featuring Tiana’s Gourmet Secrets, already open for guests to visit.
When complete, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and the surrounding restaurants and shops will offer new stories for guests to experience when they visit Disneyland Park. Those new experiences will allow new generations of parkgoers to authentically immerse themselves in the world of The Princess and the Frog.
No restaurant or new shop has been announced for the area around the attraction at Walt Disney World, but those announcements may still be upcoming.